Doctor Who (season 7)

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This article is about the 1970 season. For the 2012/13 series, see Doctor Who (series 7).
Doctor Who season 7
Doctor Who logo 1970-1973, 1996.svg
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of episodes 25: 4 serials
Release
Original channel BBC One
Original release 3 January 1970 (1970-01-03) – 20 June 1970 (1970-06-20)
Season chronology
← Previous
Season 6
Next →
Season 8
List of Doctor Who serials

The seventh season of British science fiction television series Doctor Who began on 3 January 1970 with Jon Pertwee's first story Spearhead from Space and ended with Inferno.

Casting[edit]

Main characters[edit]

Jon Pertwee makes his first appearance as the Third Doctor replacing Patrick Troughton in the role. Caroline John makes her first appearance as companion and assistant Liz Shaw in Spearhead from Space and last in Inferno.

Guest stars[edit]

Nicholas Courtney returns as Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart and he would continue to make regular appearances in Doctor Who until season 13.

John Levene also makes his first appearance as Sergeant Benton since The Invasion in The Ambassadors of Death and would continue to make regular appearances until season 13.

Serials[edit]

Barry Letts took over as producer from Derrick Sherwin after Spearhead from Space. From this season onwards the programme was produced in colour. To accommodate the new production methods the number of episodes in a season was cut: season 6 has 44 episodes; season 7 has 25 episodes. The seasons would continue to have between 20 and 26 episodes until season 22. Following the opening four parter, the remaining episodes were divided into three serials each of seven episodes. This, along with setting the entire season exclusively on Earth, had been the choice of Peter Bryant and Derrick Sherwin, which Letts and script editor Terrance Dicks were unhappy with.

Spearhead from Space was intended to be produced identically to previous serials, with a mixture of location material shot on 16mm film, and studio based material on videotape. Owing to industrial action by studio technicians at the BBC, the planned studio recording sessions were cancelled, with instead all four episodes being shot on location on 16mm film.

Story Serial Title Directed by Written by Original air date Production
code
UK viewers
(millions)[1]
AI[1]
051 1 Spearhead from Space Derek Martinus Robert Holmes 3 January 1970
10 January 1970
17 January 1970
24 January 1970
AAA 8.4
8.1
8.3
8.1
54


57
The newly regenerated Doctor is exiled to Earth in the 20th century. At the same time, a swarm of meteorites fall in Oxley Woods. The Doctor has to devise a way to destroy the Autons before they replace the people of the earth with a plastic population.
052 2 Doctor Who and the Silurians Timothy Combe Malcolm Hulke 31 January 1970
7 February 1970
14 February 1970
21 February 1970
28 February 1970
7 March 1970
14 March 1970
BBB 8.8
7.3
7.5
8.2
7.5
7.2
7.5
58
58
57
60
58
57
58
Creatures named as Silurians are lurking under a nuclear power research centre, driving people insane.
053 3 The Ambassadors of Death Michael Ferguson David Whitaker, Trevor Ray and Malcolm Hulke 21 March 1970
28 March 1970
4 April 1970
11 April 1970
18 April 1970
25 April 1970
2 May 1970
CCC 7.1
7.6
8.0
9.3
7.1
6.9
6.4
60
61
59
58

61
62
The British space programme oversees the launch of the Recovery Seven probe that has been sent to Mars to make contact with the missing Mars Probe Seven and its two astronauts, who lost contact with Earth eight months earlier. Van Lyden makes contact with the Probe but is then silenced by a piercing unearthly sound.
054 4 Inferno Douglas Camfield and Barry Letts Don Houghton 9 May 1970
16 May 1970
23 May 1970
30 May 1970
6 June 1970
13 June 1970
20 June 1970
DDD 5.7
5.9
4.8
6.0
5.4
6.7
5.5
61
61
60
60

58
60
Inferno is the nickname given to a project to penetrate the Earth's crust. The project, however, has its own problems and the Doctor is sent to an alternate universe.

Broadcast[edit]

The entire season was broadcast from 3 January to 20 June 1970. Peter Bryant and Derrick Sherwin had originally envisaged replacing Doctor Who with a Quatermass-style serial, with Nigel Kneale involved, but this fell through when Kneale refused to write for the show. The plan did, however, have an effect on the programme, seeing the Doctor exiled to a near-future earth as UNIT's scientific advisor.

DVD releases[edit]

Serial name Number and duration
of episodes
R2 release date R4 release date R1 release date
Spearhead from Space 4 × 25 min. 29 January 2001 12 September 2001 11 September 2001
Spearhead from Space – Special Edition
Only available as part of the Mannequin Mania box set in Regions 2 and 4.
4 × 25 min. 9 May 2011 2 June 2011 14 August 2012[2][3]
Spearhead from Space – Blu-ray Edition
Includes bonus features exclusive to Blu-ray
4 × 25 min. 15 July 2013[4] TBA TBA
Spearhead from Space - "Doctor Who DVD Files" Issue 35 4 × 25 min. 5 May 2010 5 May 2010 N/A
Doctor Who and the Silurians
Only available as part of the Beneath the Surface box set in Regions 2 and 4.
Available individually or in the box set in Region 1.
7 × 25 min. 14 January 2008 5 March 2008 3 June 2008
Doctor Who and the Silurians - "Doctor Who DVD Files" Issue 65 7 × 25 min. 29 June 2011 29 June 2011 N/A
The Ambassadors of Death 7 × 25 min. 1 October 2012[5] 3 October 2012[6] 9 October 2012[7]
Inferno 7 × 25 min. 19 June 2006 6 July 2006 5 September 2006
Inferno - Special Edition 7 x 25 min. 27 May 2013 5 June 2013 11 June 2013
Inferno - "Doctor Who DVD Files" Issue 44 7 × 25 min. 8 September 2010 8 September 2010 N/A

In print[edit]

Serial name Novelisation title Author First published
Spearhead from Space Doctor Who and the Auton Invasion Terrance Dicks 1974
Doctor Who and the Silurians Doctor Who and the Cave Monsters Malcolm Hulke 1974
The Ambassadors of Death The Ambassadors of Death Terrance Dicks 1987
Inferno Inferno Terrance Dicks 1984

References[edit]