Doctor Who (season 26)
|Doctor Who season 26|
Title card as used in this season
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of episodes||14, 4 serials|
|Original channel||BBC One|
|Original run||6 September 1989– 6 December 1989|
|Home video release|
|Region 1||1 June 2004 -
5 May 2009
|Region 2||6 October 2003 -
26 December 2008
|Region 4||11 February 2004 -
5 February 2009
The twenty-sixth season of British science fiction television series Doctor Who began on 9 September 1989 with the serial Battlefield, after a regular series of four serials was broadcast finishing with Survival which was the final episode of Doctor Who to air before a 16-year absence from episodic television following its cancellation.
Nicholas Courtney returned to play Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart in Battlefield. He first appeared with the Second Doctor in 1968 in The Web of Fear before becoming a recurring character throughout the Second Doctor to the Fifth Doctor and last appearing in The Five Doctors.
Anthony Ainley returned to play The Master in Survival, having last appeared in The Ultimate Foe (1986). This was Ainley's final television appearance in the role, though he portrayed the Master one last time in the 1997 computer game Destiny of the Doctors.
Continuing on from Season 25, Season 26 continued script editor Andrew Cartmel's move to push the series towards a darker approach, focusing this time more on Ace's personal life as well as The Doctor's past and manipulations.
|Story||Serial||Title||Directed by||Written by||UK viewers
|AI||Original air date||Production
|152||1||Battlefield||Michael Kerrigan||Ben Aaronovitch||3.1
|6 September 1989
13 September 1989
20 September 1989
27 September 1989
|The Doctor and Ace join forces with UNIT and his old friend the Brigadier against Morgaine (Jean Marsh) and Mordred, Arthurian villains who recognize the Doctor as Merlin.|
|153||2||Ghost Light||Alan Wareing||Marc Platt||4.2
|4 October 1989
11 October 1989
18 October 1989
|The Doctor brings Ace to Gabriel Chase, an old house that she once burnt down in her home town of Perivale. However, trying to get Ace to accept her guilt is not the real reason the Doctor came here; a mysterious and highly mentally unstable being slays below them.|
|154||3||The Curse of Fenric||Nicholas Mallett||Ian Briggs||4.3
|25 October 1989
1 November 1989
8 November 1989
15 November 1989
|It's 1943, and Fenric plans a last game of chess with a Time Lord. The Doctor also has a very important secret he's been keeping from Ace since they met.|
|155||4||Survival||Alan Wareing||Rona Munro||5.0
|22 November 1989
29 November 1989
6 December 1989
|A visit to the suburbs of Ace's home town lands the Doctor and Ace on a planet of killer cats. Also, the Master's up to his old tricks once again, but what could he be after this time?|
The entire season was broadcast from 6 September to 6 December 1989. The Curse of Fenric was originally intended to be aired before Ghost Light, but was subsequently rescheduled.
All serials of season 26 were released individually in between 2003 and 2008.
|Serial name||Number and duration
|R2 release date||R4 release date||R1 release date|
|Battlefield||4 × 25 min.
1 × 96 min.
|26 December 2008||5 February 2009||5 May 2009|
|Ghost Light||3 × 25 min.||20 September 2004||3 February 2005||7 June 2005|
|The Curse of Fenric||4 × 25 min.
1 × 104 min.
|6 October 2003||11 February 2004||1 June 2004|
|Survival||3 × 25 min.||16 April 2007||6 June 2007||14 August 2007|
|Serial name||Novelisation title||Author||First published|
|Ghost Light||Ghost Light||Marc Platt||1990|
|The Curse of Fenric||The Curse of Fenric||Ian Briggs||1990|
Initial planning work had begun on Season 27, planned for the end of 1990, in mid-1989 with Andrew Cartmel and a group of regular writers, including Ben Aaronovitch, Ian Briggs and Marc Platt, discussing potential story ideas. One of the major intentions was to have been the departure of Ace halfway through, which would have seen the character taken to Gallifrey to become a Time Lord. This would also have seen the subsequent introduction of a new companion, planned as an "aristocratic cat burglar". The cancellation of the series meant that no detailed work was undertaken beyond these initial ideas:
- Earth Aid by Ben Aaronovitch: Intended to feature a new monster called the "Metatraxi", a race of samurai like insect warriors, this was planned as a story concerning the politics of humanitarian aid. The only significant detail was the idea of the opening, which would have featured Ace as the captain of a starship.
- Thin Ice by Marc Platt: Planned as the serial that would see the departure of Ace, this was to see the return of the Ice Warriors and be set in London in 1968.
- The third serial was planned as the introduction of the new companion, who would have come across the Doctor in the midst of robbing a country house.
Although the first series of Doctor Who's return in 2005 is the 27th full series of the show, the production team officially restarted the series numbering from scratch. This was mainly due to the 16 year gap between Season 26 and the new series (not counting the 1996 television movie).