Doctor Who (season 12)
|Doctor Who (season 12)|
Cover art of the Region 2 DVD release for first serial of the season
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of stories||5|
|No. of episodes||20|
|Original network||BBC One|
|Original release||28 December 1974– 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.
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. Tom Baker was an out-of-work actor that had been working in construction at the time. 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. Slater suggested Baker to Doctor Who producer Barry Letts who had been looking to fill the part. 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. Baker would continue in his role as the Doctor for seven seasons, longer than any other actor to play the part.
Elisabeth Sladen had renewed her contract to play Sarah Jane Smith during the previous season. 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.
Nicholas Courtney and John Levene reprised their roles as the Brigadier and Sergeant Benton respectively in the first serial, Robot. Courtney had begun his role in the Second Doctor story The Web of Fear (1968), where the character was a colonel. Levene had begun in Second Doctor story The Invasion (1968), replacing another actor. Both were 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.
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). 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. As a means of saving money, The Ark in Space and Revenge of the Cybermen were shot on the same sets.
|Story||Serial||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||Prod.
|75||1||Robot||Christopher Barry||Terrance Dicks||28 December 1974
4 January 1975
11 January 1975
18 January 1975
|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.|
|76||2||The Ark in Space||Rodney Bennett||Robert Holmes||25 January 1975
1 February 1975
8 February 1975
15 February 1975
|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.|
|77||3||The Sontaran Experiment||Rodney Bennett||Bob Baker and Dave Martin||22 February 1975
1 March 1975
|On a future Earth, the Fourth Doctor, Harry Sullivan, and Sarah Jane Smith discover Styre, a Sontaran warrior.|
|78||4||Genesis of the Daleks||David Maloney||Terry Nation||8 March 1975
15 March 1975
22 March 1975
29 March 1975
5 April 1975
12 April 1975
|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.|
|79||5||Revenge of the Cybermen||Michael E. Briant||Gerry Davis||19 April 1975
26 April 1975
3 May 1975
10 May 1975
|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.|
Robot was written by Dicks, who cited King Kong as an influence for the serial. Dicks incorporated several familiar elements from the Third Doctor's first story Spearhead from Space (1970), which helped the audience transition between actors. The Ark in Space was written by Robert Holmes from a story by John Lucarotti that was considered unusable. 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. However, under Hinchcliffe, the serial gained a darker tone.
The sets of The Ark in Space were reused for Revenge of the Cybermen. Genesis of the Daleks was the last serial of the season to be filmed, after Revenge of the Cybermen. This took place in January and February 1975.
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.
The stories were released on DVD individually in between 2002 and 2010.
|Serial name||Number and duration
|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|
|Serial name||Novelisation title||Author||First published|
|Robot||Doctor Who and the Giant Robot||Terrance Dicks||13 March 1975|
|The Ark in Space||Doctor Who and the Ark in Space||Ian Marter||10 May 1977|
|The Sontaran Experiment||Doctor Who and the Sontaran Experiment||Ian Marter||7 December 1978|
|Genesis of the Daleks||Doctor Who and the Genesis of the Daleks||Terrance Dicks||22 July 1976|
|Revenge of the Cybermen||Doctor Who and the Revenge of the Cybermen||Terrance Dicks||20 May 1976|
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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.
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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.
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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.
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