Doctor Who (season 24)

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Doctor Who
Season 24
Doctor Who Season 24 Blu-ray.jpg
Cover art of the Blu-ray release for the complete season
Country of originUnited Kingdom
No. of stories4
No. of episodes14
Original networkBBC1
Original release7 September (1987-09-07) –
7 December 1987 (1987-12-07)
Season chronology
← Previous
Season 23
Next →
Season 25
List of episodes

The twenty-fourth season of British science fiction television series Doctor Who began on 7 September 1987 with Sylvester McCoy's first story Time and the Rani, and ended with Dragonfire. John Nathan-Turner produced the series, with Andrew Cartmel script editing.


Colin Baker (contracted for four years starting in 1985) was originally due to reprise his role as the Sixth Doctor prior to his dismissal at the request of Michael Grade, who said that a 24th season would only happen if a new actor took the title role. Baker was offered the chance to film a single four-part story ending in his character's demise, but he declined (as he did not want to miss out on other work in the meantime), instead offering to do the entirety of the season and leave the show at its conclusion. The BBC never responded to his letter. Had Baker reprised his role, a story featuring the Sixth Doctor and Mel properly meeting for the first time was going to open the season.

A new logo for the series was introduced with this season along with a new opening credits sequence that moved away from the "starfield" motif introduced in 1980, as producer John Nathan-Turner thought it was time for the series to have a brand new look. As with the opening sequence from the Sixth Doctor era, the Seventh Doctor's opening does not use a static image of the Doctor, but rather one with limited animation: the image of the Doctor starts as a scowl, then fades to a wink followed by a smile. McCoy wears makeup that gives his face and hair a silver/grey appearance. Episode four of Time and the Rani mistakenly uses an early version of this sequence, which gives the Doctor's face a shadowy look which producer John Nathan-Turner felt was not prominent enough.[1][2]


Keff McCulloch arranged the new opening theme. It was used until the end of the regular run of the series. The new theme arrangement marked the first time since the early part of the Second Doctor's era that the theme's "middle eight" section was regularly heard during the opening credits (the previous two arrangements used the middle eight during the closing credits only).


Main cast[edit]

New Companion[edit]

The departure of Bonnie Langford saw plans to introduce a new companion. However, owing to Langford being undecided as to when she would actually leave the show, producer John Nathan-Turner asked writers Malcolm Kohll and Ian Briggs to formulate characters that could be used as potential companions. Kohll designed a character in his script, titled The Flight of the Chimeron (eventually to take shape as Delta and the Bannermen), called Ray. Initially, it appeared that The Flight of the Chimeron would be the final serial of the season, which would see Ray leave with the Doctor. However, by the time it came to production and scheduling for the season, Kohll's serial had been swapped in the running order with Ian Briggs' (which became Dragonfire), and led to Briggs' creation, who eventually became Ace, taking Mel's place with the Doctor.[citation needed]

Recurring stars[edit]

Kate O'Mara makes her second appearance as the Rani in McCoy's first serial Time and the Rani.

Guest stars[edit]

Sophie Aldred guest stars as Ace in Dragonfire; Ace joins the Doctor at the end of this story to become his companion throughout the next two seasons.

Tony Selby, having recently appeared in The Trial of a Time Lord, also made a guest appearance as Sabalom Glitz in the same story.


Andrew Cartmel takes over as script editor. This season is moved to a Monday schedule.

The previous season, while ostensibly a single 14-part serial, was divided into three stories of four episodes and one of two episodes. For this season, this was re-jigged into a new format that would be followed over the next three years, with a pair of four-parters and a pair of three-parters. Not including The Two Doctors, which had episodes of 45-minute duration, Delta and the Bannermen was the first standard format (25-minute) 3 part serial since Planet of Giants in Season 2.

No. in
Serial titleEpisode titlesDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateProd.
UK viewers
(millions) [3]
1441Time and the Rani"Part One"Andrew MorganPip and Jane Baker7 September 1987 (1987-09-07)7D5.158
"Part Two"14 September 1987 (1987-09-14)4.263
"Part Three"21 September 1987 (1987-09-21)4.357
"Part Four"28 September 1987 (1987-09-28)4.959
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.
1452Paradise Towers"Part One"Nicholas MallettStephen Wyatt5 October 1987 (1987-10-05)7E4.561
"Part Two"12 October 1987 (1987-10-12)5.258
"Part Three"19 October 1987 (1987-10-19)5.058
"Part Four"26 October 1987 (1987-10-26)5.057
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.
1463Delta and the Bannermen"Part One"Chris CloughMalcolm Kohll2 November 1987 (1987-11-02)7F5.363
"Part Two"9 November 1987 (1987-11-09)5.160
"Part Three"16 November 1987 (1987-11-16)5.460
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.
1474Dragonfire"Part One"Chris CloughIan Briggs23 November 1987 (1987-11-23)7G5.561
"Part Two"30 November 1987 (1987-11-30)5.061
"Part Three"7 December 1987 (1987-12-07)4.764
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 who 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.


The entire season was broadcast from 7 September to 7 December 1987. Transmission for this season moved to Monday nights. In this way, BBC1 scheduled it against Coronation Street on ITV, ensuring ratings struggles.[4]

Home media[edit]

VHS releases[edit]

Season Story no. Serial name Number and duration
of episodes
UK release date Australia release date USA/Canada release date
24 144 Time and the Rani 4 x 25 mins July 1995 October 1995 September 1995
145 Paradise Towers 4 x 25 mins October 1995 January 1997 June 1997
146 Delta and the Bannermen 3 x 25 mins March 2001 June 2002
147 Dragonfire 3 x 25 mins February 1994 March 1994 February 1997

DVD and Blu-ray releases[edit]

All releases are for DVD unless otherwise indicated:

Season Story no. Serial name Number and duration
of episodes
R2 release date R4 release date R1 release date
24 144 Time and the Rani[a] 4 × 25 min. 13 September 2010[5] 4 November 2010[6] 14 June 2011[7]
145 Paradise Towers 4 × 25 min. 18 July 2011[8] 7 September 2011[9] 9 August 2011[10]
146 Delta and the Bannermen 3 × 25 min. 22 June 2009[11] 6 August 2009[12] 1 September 2009[13]
147 Dragonfire[b] 3 × 25 min. 7 May 2012[14] 7 June 2012[15] 8 May 2012[16]
144–147 Complete Season 24[c] 14 × 25 min.
14 × 30 min.
21 June 2021 (B)[17] 25 August 2021 (B)[18] 21 September 2021 (B)[19]
  1. ^ Available individually or in the Regeneration box set in Region 2. Only available individually in Regions 1 & 4.
  2. ^ Only available as part of the Ace Adventures box set in Regions 2 and 4. Only available individually in Region 1.
  3. ^ Released as Doctor Who: The Collection – Season 24 in Region B. Released as Doctor Who – Sylvester McCoy: Complete Season One in Region A.

In print[edit]

Season Story no. Library no.[a] Novelisation title Author Hardcover
release date[b]
release date[c]
release date[d]
24 144 128[e] Time and the Rani Pip and Jane Baker 17 December 1987 5 May 1988 6 January 2022[20]
145 134 Paradise Towers Stephen Wyatt 1 December 1988 5 April 2012
146 135 Delta and the Bannermen Malcolm Kohll 19 January 1989 1 June 2017
147 137 Dragonfire Ian Briggs 16 March 1989 5 December 2019
  1. ^ Number in Target's Doctor Who Library, if applicable
  2. ^ Published by Target's parent companies (Allen Wingate, W. H. Allen, BBC Books) unless otherwise indicated
  3. ^ Published by Target Books (or by BBC Books under the Target Collection umbrella) unless otherwise indicated
  4. ^ Unabridged from BBC Audio/AudioGo unless otherwise indicated
  5. ^ Mistakenly numbered as number 127


  1. ^ Howe, David J.; Walker, Stephen James (1998). Doctor Who The Handbook – The Seventh Doctor. London: Doctor Who Books. p. 40. ISBN 0-426-20527-8.
  2. ^ Howe, David J.; Walker, Stephen James (1998). "Time and the Rani". Doctor Who: The Television Companion. London: BBC Worldwide. p. 502. ISBN 0-563-40588-0.
  3. ^ a b "Ratings Guide". Doctor Who News. Retrieved 27 December 2014.
  4. ^ Conway, Richard (22 November 2013). "Doctor Who: A Longtime Fan Looks Back at a Show That Became an Obsession". Time. Retrieved 27 June 2021.
  5. ^ Smith 2014, Time and the Rani.
  6. ^ "Doctor Who Time and the Rani by Roadshow Entertainment - Shop Online for Movies, DVDs in Australia". Fishpond. Archived from the original on 23 October 2017. Retrieved 24 July 2017.
  7. ^ "Doctor Who: Time and the Rani". 14 June 2011. Archived from the original on 8 November 2021. Retrieved 24 July 2017 – via Amazon.
  8. ^ Smith 2014, Paradise Towers.
  9. ^ "Doctor Who Paradise Towers by Roadshow Entertainment - Shop Online for Movies, DVDs in Australia". Fishpond. Archived from the original on 23 October 2017. Retrieved 24 July 2017.
  10. ^ "Doctor Who: Paradise Towers". 9 August 2011. Retrieved 24 July 2017 – via Amazon.
  11. ^ Smith 2014, Delta and the Bannermen.
  12. ^ "Doctor Who Delta and the Bannermen by Roadshow Entertainment - Shop Online for Movies, DVDs in Australia". Fishpond. Archived from the original on 23 October 2017. Retrieved 24 July 2017.
  13. ^ "Doctor Who: Delta and the Bannermen". 1 September 2009. Archived from the original on 8 May 2021. Retrieved 24 July 2017 – via Amazon.
  14. ^ Smith 2014, Dragonfire.
  15. ^ "Doctor Who Ace Adventures by Roadshow Entertainment - Shop Online for Movies, DVDs in Australia". Fishpond. Archived from the original on 23 October 2017. Retrieved 24 July 2017.
  16. ^ "Doctor Who: Dragonfire". 8 May 2012. Retrieved 24 July 2017 – via Amazon.
  17. ^ "Doctor Who: The Collection - Season 24 Blu-ray". Archived from the original on 21 May 2021. Retrieved 8 November 2021.
  18. ^ "Doctor Who: The Collection - Season 24". Archived from the original on 21 May 2021. Retrieved 8 November 2021.
  19. ^ "Doctor Who: Sylvester McCoy: Complete Season One Blu-ray". Archived from the original on 13 October 2021. Retrieved 8 November 2021.
  20. ^ "Doctor Who: Time and the Rani: 7th Doctor Novelisation (Audio Download): Pip Baker, Jane Baker, Bonnie Langford, BBC Audio: Books". Amazon UK.


  • Smith, Paul (2014). The Classic Doctor Who DVD Compendium. United Kingdom: Wonderful Books. ISBN 978-0-9576062-2-7.