Doctor Who (season 12)

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Doctor Who season 12
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of episodes 20, 5 serials
Broadcast
Original channel BBC One
Original run 28 December 1974 (1974-12-28) – 10 May 1975 (1975-05-10)
Home video release
DVD release
Region 1 6 August 2002 -
9 August 2010
Region 2 8 April 2002 -
2 November 2010
Region 4 3 June 2002 -
7 October 2010
Season chronology
← Previous
Season 11
Next →
Season 13
List of Doctor Who serials

The twelfth season of British science fiction television series Doctor Who began on 28 December 1974 with Tom Baker's first serial Robot, and ended with Revenge of the Cybermen on 10 May 1975.

This is the first season to feature Tom Baker as the fourth incarnation of the Doctor, an alien Time Lord who travels through time and space in his TARDIS, which appears to be a British police box on the outside. He is accompanied by companions Sarah Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen), continuing from season eleven, and Harry Sullivan (Ian Marter), who joins in this season.

List of serials[edit]

After Robot, all the serials in this season continue directly one after the other, tracing one single problematic voyage of the TARDIS crew. Despite the continuity, each serial is considered its own standalone story.

The season was initially formatted as the previous Pertwee season had been with three six part stories and two four part stories. To this end, the initial structure was to open with the four-part Robot and the four-part Space Station by Christopher Langley followed by three six-parters – Genesis of Terror (later retitled Genesis of the Daleks), Loch Ness, and another six-part story to be determined. Script editor Robert Holmes discussed with Philip Hinchcliffe the possibility of replacing the as-yet undecided six-parter with a four-part story and a two-parter, both with the same production team. The season structure later became two four-part stories (Robot and a replacement for Space Station, The Ark in Space), the new two-parter The Destructors (later retitled The Sontaran Experiment), the six-part Genesis of Terror, and a four-part version of Loch Ness (later retitled Terror of the Zygons and held over for season 13).[1] This decision made The Sontaran Experiment the first two-part story since Season 2's The Rescue. It was also the first to be shot entirely on location since Jon Pertwee's opening story Spearhead from Space in Season 7, and the first to be shot entirely on videotape instead of 16mm film, as was usual for location shooting.[2] As a means of saving money, The Ark in Space and Revenge of the Cybermen were shot on the same sets.

Story No. Serial Title Directed by Written by UK viewers
(million)
AI
(%)
Original air date Production
code
075 1 Robot Christopher Barry Terrance Dicks Ep. 1: 10.8
Ep. 2: 10.7
Ep. 3: 10.1
Ep. 4: 9.0[3]
Ep. 1: 53
Ep. 2: 53
Ep. 3:
Ep. 4: 51[3]
28 December 1974 - 18 January 1975 4A
With the newly regenerated Doctor, UNIT have to contend with the theft of the plans for the new disintegrator gun by what seems to be a mechanical monster.
076 2 The Ark in Space Rodney Bennett Robert Holmes Ep. 1: 9.4
Ep. 2: 13.6
Ep. 3: 11.2
Ep. 4: 10.2[4]
25 January - 15 February 1975 4C
The Doctor, Sarah, and Harry accidentally travel to Space Station Nerva in orbit around a far future Earth where they encounter an insectoid alien race known as the Wirrn.
077 3 The Sontaran Experiment Rodney Bennett Bob Baker &
Dave Martin
Ep. 1: 11.0
Ep. 2: 10.5[5]
Ep. 1:
Ep. 2: 55[5]
22 February – 1 March 1975 4B
On a future Earth, the Fourth Doctor, Harry Sullivan, and Sarah Jane Smith discover Styre, a Sontaran warrior.
078 4 Genesis of the Daleks David Maloney Terry Nation Ep. 1: 10.7
Ep. 2: 10.5
Ep. 3: 8.5
Ep. 4: 8.8
Ep. 5: 9.8
Ep. 6: 9.1[6]
Ep. 1:
Ep. 2: 57
Ep. 3:
Ep. 4: 58
Ep. 5: 57
Ep. 6: 56[6]
8 March - 12 April 1975 4E
Intercepted during a Transmat transfer, at the request of the Time Lords, the Doctor, Sarah, and Harry travel to Skaro just as the Daleks are being created where they try to change the history of the Daleks.
079 5 Revenge of the Cybermen Michael E. Briant Gerry Davis Ep. 1: 9.5
Ep. 2: 8.3
Ep. 3: 8.9
Ep. 4: 9.4[7]
Ep. 1: 57
Ep. 2:
Ep. 3:
Ep. 4: 58[7]
19 April - 10 May 1975 4D
The Doctor, Harry and Sarah find themselves on Space Station Nerva but millennia earlier when it was just a beacon for incoming and outgoing space ships, where a lethal infection is spreading through the crew.

Casting[edit]

When producing season twelve, it was known that Jon Pertwee would be leaving his role as the Third Doctor and that a new Fourth Doctor would need to be cast for the part.[8] Tom Baker was an out-of-work actor that had been working in construction at the time.[9][10] Baker had been a television and film actor, having major parts in several films including The Vault of Horror (1973) and as the main antagonist in The Golden Voyage of Sinbad the same year. He had written to Bill Slater, the Head of Serials at the BBC, asking for work.[10] Slater suggested Baker to Doctor Who producer Barry Letts who had been looking to fill the part.[9][10] Letts had been the producer of the series since the early Pertwee serials in 1970. He had seen Baker's work in The Golden Voyage of Sinbad and hired him for the part.[11] Baker would continue in his role as the Doctor for seven seasons, longer than any other actor to play the part.[12]

Elisabeth Sladen had renewed her contract to play Sarah Jane Smith during the previous season.[citation needed] Ian Marter joined the cast as Harry Sullivan. The character was created before Baker was cast; there had been discussion of casting an older actor as the Doctor, and so Harry was created as a younger character to handle the action scenes.[citation needed]

Nicholas Courtney and John Levene reprised their roles as the Brigadier and Sergeant Benton respectively in the first serial, Robot.[13] Both Courtney and Levene had started their roles with the Second Doctor story The Invasion (1968) as members of the military organization United Nations Intelligence Taskforce (UNIT). They, along with Sladen, would be the transition cast to carry through from the Third Doctor to the Fourth Doctor, though Robot is the only UNIT story for the twelfth season.

Production[edit]

Barry Letts served as producer for Robot, after which he was succeeded by Philip Hinchcliffe. Robert Holmes took over from Terrance Dicks as script editor.

Robot was written by Dicks, who cited King Kong as an influence for the serial.[14] Dicks incorporated several familiar elements from the Third Doctor's first story Spearhead from Space (1970), which helped the audience transition between actors.[15][16] The Ark in Space was written by Robert Holmes from a story by John Lucarotti that was considered unusable.[17][18] Letts and Dicks were eager to have Terry Nation return to write the Daleks, but initially found his script too similar to past Dalek adventures. They suggested that he write a Dalek origin story instead, which became Genesis of the Daleks.[19] However, under Hinchcliffe, the serial gained a darker tone.[19]

The sets of The Ark in Space were reused for Revenge of the Cybermen.[20] Genesis of the Daleks was the last serial of the season to be filmed, after Revenge of the Cybermen.[21] This took place in January and February 1975.[22]

Broadcast[edit]

The entire season was broadcast from 28 December 1974 to 10 May 1975.

The season uses the same opening titles as the previous season, albeit with Baker's face instead of Pertwee's. However, the title sequence for Part One of The Ark in Space was tinted green as an experiment, but was not repeated for subsequent episodes.[23]

DVD releases[edit]

The stories were released on DVD individually in between 2002 and 2010.

Serial name Number and duration
of episodes
R2 release date R4 release date R1 release date
Robot 4 × 25 min. 4 June 2007 4 July 2007 14 August 2007
The Ark in Space 4 × 25 min. 8 April 2002 3 June 2002 6 August 2002
The Ark in Space – Special Edition 4 × 25 min. 25 February 2013 27 February 2013 12 March 2013
The Sontaran Experiment
Available individually or in the Bred for War box set in Regions 2 and 4.
Only available individually in Region 1.
2 × 25 min. 9 October 2006 7 December 2006 6 March 2007
Genesis of the Daleks
Available individually or in The Complete Davros Collection box set in Regions 2 and 4.
Only available individually in Region 1.
6 × 25 min. 10 April 2006 4 May 2006 6 June 2006
Revenge of the Cybermen
Only available as part of the Cybermen box set in Regions 2 and 4.
Only available individually in Region 1.
4 × 25 min. 9 August 2010 7 October 2010 2 November 2010

In print[edit]

Serial name Novelisation title Author First published
Robot Doctor Who and the Giant Robot Terrance Dicks 1975
The Ark in Space Doctor Who and the Ark in Space Ian Marter 1977
The Sontaran Experiment Doctor Who and the Sontaran Experiment Ian Marter 1978
Genesis of the Daleks Doctor Who and the Genesis of the Daleks Terrance Dicks 1976
Revenge of the Cybermen Doctor Who and the Revenge of the Cybermen Terrance Dicks 1976

References[edit]

  1. ^ Doctor Who: The Scripts – Tom Baker 1974/5. London: BBC Worldwide Limited. 2001. pp. 22–23. ISBN 0563538155. 
  2. ^ Roberts, Steve (12 August 2006). "The Sontaran Experiment". Doctor Who Restoration Team. Retrieved 15 April 2013. 
  3. ^ a b "A Brief History Of Time (Travel): Robot". Shannonsullivan.com. Retrieved 2012-07-19. 
  4. ^ "A Brief History Of Time (Travel): The Ark In Space". Shannonsullivan.com. Retrieved 2012-07-19. 
  5. ^ a b "A Brief History Of Time (Travel): The Sontaran Experiment". Shannonsullivan.com. Retrieved 2012-07-19. 
  6. ^ a b "A Brief History Of Time (Travel): Genesis Of The Daleks". Shannonsullivan.com. Retrieved 2012-07-19. 
  7. ^ a b "A Brief History Of Time (Travel): Revenge Of The Cybermen". Shannonsullivan.com. Retrieved 2012-07-19. 
  8. ^ Sladen, Elisabeth (2012). Doctor Who Stories: Elizabeth Sladen Part 1 (DVD). Doctor Who: Invasion of the Dinosaurs. London, England, UK: BBC Video. ISBN 9780780684416. OCLC 750279801. 
  9. ^ a b Westthorp, Alex (24 April 2008). "Who could've been Who? An alternate history of Doctor Who". Den of Geek. London, England, UK: Dennis Publishing. Retrieved 18 January 2013. "Eventually a suggestion by the wife of BBC drama head Bill Slater was followed up and the production team found the wild-eyed and naturally eccentric Tom Baker mixing cement on a building site." 
  10. ^ a b c Westthorp, Alex (1 April 2010). "Top 10 Doctor Who producers: Part Two". Den of Geek. London, England, UK: Dennis Publishing. Retrieved 18 January 2013. "Letts found casting a new Doctor more difficult, however, until a tip-off from his boss Bill Slater. An unemployed actor, then working on a building site, called Tom Baker had written to Slater asking for work. In, arguably, one of the best decisions ever made on Doctor Who, Letts cast Tom Baker as the fourth Doctor." 
  11. ^ Rawson-Jones, Ben (14 October 2009). "A tribute to 'Doctor Who' legend Barry Letts". Digital Spy. New York City, New York, USA: Hearst Magazines UK. Retrieved 18 January 2013. "Having seen unknown hod-carrier Baker in The Golden Voyage Of Sinbad, Letts took the goggle-eyed aspiring actor away from the building site and into the Tardis in 1974." 
  12. ^ AudioFile staff (July 2009). "AudioFile audiobook review: DOCTOR WHO By Terrance Dicks, Read by Tom Baker". In Whitten, Robin F. AudioFile (Portland, Maine, USA: AudioFile Publications). ISSN 1063-0244. OCLC 25844569. Retrieved 18 January 2013. 
  13. ^ Braxton, Mark (7 May 2010). "Doctor Who: Robot - Radio Times". In Preston, Ben. Radio Times (London, England, UK: Immediate Media Company). ISSN 0033-8060. OCLC 240905405. Retrieved 18 January 2013. 
  14. ^ Muir, John Kenneth (1999). A critical history of Doctor Who on television (illustrated ed.). Jefferson, North Carolina, USA: McFarland & Company. ISBN 9780786404421. OCLC 40926632. Retrieved 9 January 2013. 
  15. ^ Cornell, Day and Topping (2004)[page needed]
  16. ^ Howe and Walker (2004)[page needed]
  17. ^ Howe, Stammers & Walker 1992, p. 57
  18. ^ Cornell, Day and Topping (2004) p. 168
  19. ^ a b Baker, Tom, Terrance Dicks, Philip Hinchcliffe, Barry Letts, David Maloney, Elisabeth Sladen, Michael Wisher (10 April 2006). Genesis of a Classic (DVD). Genesis of the Daleks DVD: BBC Worldwide. 
  20. ^ Howe, Stammers & Walker 1992, pp. 58, 63, 64
  21. ^ Richard Molesworth (compiler) (10 April 2006). Genesis of the Daleks with Information Text (DVD). Genesis of the Daleks DVD: BBC Worldwide. 
  22. ^ Braxton, Mark (14 June 2010). "Doctor Who: Genesis of the Daleks". Radio Times. Retrieved 14 October 2012. 
  23. ^ Richards, Justin (2005) [2003]. Doctor Who: The Legend Continues - 5 decades of time travel (revised ed.). London: BBC Books. p. 199. ISBN 0-563-48640-6. 

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]